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Detailing your car can be confusing, and even more confusing is what it is going to cost you to take your car into a shop and get it cleaned. However I am hoping this article can give you some great un-biased answers on what you can expect when taking your vehicle into the shop!
So how much does it cost to get your car professionally cleaned? According to my findings, to get a basic clean it will cost you on average about $100. To get a general detail with a few more upgrades, it will cost you $178. If you want to get a full detail with most all the bells and whistles it will cost you on average $265.80.
In this article, we are going to break down what each of these levels of cleaning come with, and what you can expect when you get your car back from the detailer!
To gather all of this information, I found detailers throughout the USA, gathered their different packages that you will find in the table below, and checked into what came with each package. It should also be noted, the pricing in this article is for a sedan, and pickups or SUVs will likely cost more.
Stay tuned until the end of the article, where there is a list of great products you can buy if you want to detail your car yourself!
|Company||State||Basic||General Clean||Extensive Detail|
|Bailey’s Car Detailing||KY||$69.99||$149.99||$199.99|
|Complete Auto Detailing||TX||$155||$255||$375|
|The Detail Shoppe||MI||–||–||$225|
A basic detail costing on average around $101.33 will generally take a shop about 30 minutes to complete the detail. Because of this it is also their cheapest option. Personally, from what I have found this is not the greatest deal, as it doesn’t really include anything that a normal person is able to achieve in a similar time frame.
This 30 minutes of work will include a hand wash, cleaning windows, vacuuming and a hand wash of the exterior of the vehicle.
What it doesn’t generally include are the things that people aren’t normally able to do at home, such as shampooing of the carpets, waxing the paint, cleaning door jambs, and dressing all of the plastics with a protectant.
If it were me, I would go with a higher level as you will get a much better result for your money, and will be much happier!
Now we are starting to get into a package where it starts to become worth your time and money to drop the vehicle off at a vehicle shop! These mid-range packages start to include paint protection, a full clean including drying, cleaning door jambs, and other storage areas throughout the vehicle and more.
These cleans will take on average around 2 hours to complete, which is something not many people are willing to dedicate to their vehicle, which makes it more worth the price you pay.
This is a clean you will likely use if you like to keep your vehicle extremely clean, and might look at having this done every 1-2 months of your vehicles life as it does offer protection to the exterior, and interior of the vehicle outside of just the normal clean.
If you are someone who either has an extremely dirty vehicle that needs to be revitalized, or you like to have a full annual cleaning, getting the top package that detailing shops have to offer might be for you. These details can take 3 or more hours, even going up to 8 hours (for an additional cost of course).
While it is definitely one of the most expensive packages, I personally believe these tend to be the best value, as the detail includes things like leather treatments, UV protectant on plastics, exterior trim treatment and protection, and even paint defect removal. These are all things that your vehicle needs to last longer.
Of course these packages also include all of your normal services like shampooing of carpets, and a complete clean of the whole vehicle inside and out.
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Extra upgrades you can add
Even if you are buying the most expensive package at different detailing shops, there are always going to be upgradable items. Some common upgrades are ceramic coating of the vehicle, headlight restorations, full paint corrections, engine bay cleaning, odor removal and more.
These all will of course have additional costs ranging from $50 to hundreds of dollars depending on the option.
Can you detail a vehicle yourself?
Now that we have discussed the cost of detailing a vehicle, it leaves you the choice as to if that cost is worth it, or if you should just be cleaning the vehicle yourself.
If you are someone that is considering a basic detail, or even a general clean, these might actually be a level of clean that you can achieve at home (I have a list below of links to products you will need).
However if you are thinking about opting for the highest level of detail, and you have no experience yourself, you will likely find that the professionals are able to do considerable better than you ever will hope to be able to achieve.
So what will you need to detail a car yourself? My recommended tools:
As promised, if detailing your car yourself seems like something you would enjoy, these are the products I would recommend that are both great values but also high quality products.
- For vacuuming the vehicle – Armor All 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
- Cleaning solution for the carpet – Meguiars All Purpose Cleaner with sprayer
- For cleaning the exterior – Chemical Guys 16-Piece Arsenal Builder Car Wash Kit with Foam Gun
- For agitating dirt in hard to clean areas (buy a couple of these) – Chemical Guys Boar’s Hair Detailing Brush
- For agitating carpeting, wheels, etc – Hiware 4 Pcs Drill Brush Car Detailing Kit
Frequently Asked Questions
Is detailing your car worth it?
Having your vehicle detailed is not only great for your enjoyment, but also for keeping your vehicle from breaking down quicker! Detailing cleans off harmful chemical to your paint, metals and more on the exterior, but also cleans out things that can damage the interior of the vehicle as well.
How often should you get your car professionally cleaned?
I would recommend a basic or general clean every couple of months as a maintenance clean, however a more extensive clean would be great every year or two to really get things cleaned out that aren’t normally done.
Do automatic car washes scratch your car?
An automatic car wash can actually scratch your car! If you are using an automatic car wash, I would recommend only using washes that utilize pressure washers, not the brushes.
So there you have it! Having your vehicle professionally cleaned can range from $100 (or less) to over $250. Every shop has different packages, different upgrades, and just a different market price depending on the location, so you will have to contact your local shop to get exact pricing.
If you are someone that likes to clean your car regularly, or are someone who needs to revitalize an old car of yours or one you just purchased a good detail from a professional shop might be a great choice for you.